Supreme Court of N.H. v. Piper

470 U.S. 274, 105 S. Ct. 1272 (1985)

 

RULE:

The Privileges and Immunities Clause, U.S. Const. art. IV, §2, does not preclude discrimination against nonresidents where (i) there is a substantial reason for the difference in treatment; and (ii) the discrimination practiced against nonresidents bears a substantial relationship to the state's objective.

FACTS:

Appellee applied and passed the New Hampshire bar. Appellant New Hampshire Supreme Court informed her that she would have to establish a home address in New Hampshire prior to being sworn in pursuant to H. Sup. Ct. R. 42, that excluded nonresidents from the bar. Appellee filed an action, alleging that the rule violated the privileges and immunities clause of the United States Constitution, Article IV 2. The district court ruled in appellee’s favor. The appellate court affirmed the judgment. On further appeal, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the appellate court’s decision.

ISSUE:

Did appellant New Hampshire Supreme Court’s bar residency requirement violate the privileges and immunities clause of the United States Constitution, Article IV 2?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

Bar residency requirements violated the Constitution because appellee's interest in practicing law was protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause and the state's reasons for discriminating were not substantial. In the instant case, it was considered whether the discrimination bore a close or substantial relationship to the state's objectives and considered the availability of less restrictive means. The means chosen did not bear the necessary relationship to the state's objectives. Appellee would have been accepted to the bar of New Hampshire had appellee established a home address in New Hampshire.

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